Saturday, May 23, 2020

As US President Demands That Churches Re-Open, Case Study from Minnesota

Catholic leaders and Gov. Tim Walz met again Friday but made no announcement about reaching common ground. ... 
Tensions over when and how to safely reopen places of worship intensified Friday, with President Donald Trump urging the nation’s governors to let religious leaders open their doors immediately. 
The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had already said it plans to reopen Tuesday at one-third capacity, despite Gov. Tim Walz's limits on group gatherings. Catholic leaders and Walz met Friday but made no announcement.

Meanwhile, there's this:

New York Times, "Minnesota Coronavirus Map and Case Count," May 23, 2020

And there's this from the parish of St. Timothy in Maple Lake, Stearns County, Minnesota, dated May 20: 

Dear Parishioners of Saint Timothy and Saint Ignatius,  
I hope that all is well with you. I wanted to share an important update with all of you regarding the Coronoavirus situation in our parishes.  
Yesterday afternoon, we learned that some parishioners of Saint Ignatius with whom Father Andrew and I have been in contact tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Father Andrew has just now tested positive as well. Monsignor Callaghan and I have recently developed some symptoms and are awaiting our own test results. We don’t know at this point what our own illness may be and nothing is confirmed. The parishioners of Saint Ignatius should also be aware that at least one of the volunteers that helped with the distribution of flowers for Mother’s Day has been feeling unwell and was exposed to others with the virus. This comes as a major surprise to us, as we have tried to respect the guidelines of the CDC and social distancing and the MDH to the best of our ability.

And there's this yesterday, also from Stearns County, from the city of Albany. Stearns County is one of the most heavily Catholic counties in Minnesota, the site of large Benedictine monasteries for men and for women, St. John's abbey, which founded St. John's University, and St. Benedict's monastery at St. Joseph, Minnesota, right up the road from St. John's:

And there's this yesterday, reporting on St. Ignatius parish in Annandale, Minnesota, a sister parish of St. Timothy mentioned above — this is from Mike Schoemer, "Maple Lake, Annandale Churches Hit by COVID-19":  

In a stark contrast to the Archdiocese's move to open churches to the public, a Wright County church is dealing with a number of COVID 19 cases, according to a letter released by the parish’s pastor. 
Fr. John Meyer announced Wednesday, May 20 that priest Fr. Andrew Stueve and a "handful of parishioners" from St. Ignatius – located in Annandale – had tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. 
Fr. Meyer and Fr. Stueve also serve at the Church of St. Timothy in Maple Lake, which is the home church for the Maple Lake-Annandale parish.

And there's this:

Did I mention that Minnesota governor, whom the Catholic bishops of Minnesota are eager to defy, is not a Republican but a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party? Add that piece of information to the other pieces that demand reflection in this story — as you think, too, about how critical the man sitting in the White House right now regards the (white) Catholic and white evangelical vote to his re-election.

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